Assessing EU Funding priorities – Connecting the missing pieces to solve the DSO funding puzzle

In the wake of the fourth PCI Energy Days (28-29 November 2023) and the official launch of the Grid Action Plan on November 2023, E.DSO publishes today a report “Assessing EU Funding priorities – Connecting the missing pieces to solve the DSO funding puzzle”.

This report presents the results of a quantitative and qualitative survey undertaken from September to October 2023 by DOWEL Innovation on behalf of E.DSO. The objective of the survey was to investigate how Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are currently accessing EU and national public funding to finance their projects and activities.

A total of 54 answers were provided to the online survey, collected from 39 different respondents from a total of 15 Member States of the European Union (EU) and Ukraine. Additionally, five bilateral, semi-structured interviews were then carried out to obtain information of the DSOs’ opinions on the possible shortcomings, issues and obstacles encountered as well as to explore possible future actions to address about funding opportunities at national and EU level. While key findings revealed that existing funding schemes, and in particular the Horizon programmes, have been experienced as well-suited mechanisms to set-up, for instance, pilot projects testing innovative solutions, the survey brought to light an inherent dissatisfaction about the availability and accessibility of funds to finance the operating and capital expenditure required for the transition towards a decarbonised and more decentralised energy system.

Overall, survey results identified major obstacles connected to proper guidance by Member States, burdensome administrative processes, a lack of transparency, unproportionate competition, unfavourable regulatory treatments, or unrealistic timelines.

The evidence gathered suggested several recommendations related to earmarking for DSO projects to stimulate the entire value chain, a greater role of the European institutions in overseeing the effectiveness of implementing initiatives and strategies and simplification when it comes to the regulatory environment as a whole. These inputs served as fundamental basis to articulate solid policy recommendations to EU policy makers in their endeavour to improve the development of the DSO funding landscape and the Multiannual Financial Framework (2028-2034).

Please download the report to read its full content.

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